Monday, April 13, 2015

Street View Doom

I spend too much time thinking about how Street View might develop in the future. I wonder when and how we will reach the stage when we can seamlessly navigate around a map at street level without the jump cuts you experience in Google Maps when you move from one Street View to the next.

A few weeks ago I posted about Perspective Scaling, a demonstration of how to create seamless transitions between adjacent 360 degree panoramas. Perspective Scaling uses the depth maps of the panoramas to apply a more seamless transformation as you move from one panorama to the next. The result in the demonstration is very impressive.

With Perspective Scaling however you are restricted to being able to move in only two directions -forwards or backwards. Callum Prentice's Street Cloud and Street Cloud Flow uses Google's hidden Street View depth library to overcome this restriction and allows you to move around in 3d. In these demos however the depth maps break the Street View data up into dots. The result while impressive is a little fragmented.

Graffiti General could have the complete answer. BETC Digital wanted to preserve the memory of an abandoned building in Paris which was scheduled for renovation. The building was popular with graffiti artists and the renovations meant that the artwork would soon be lost forever.

BETC Digital therefore decided to create an immersive 3d model of the building, which users could move around in at will (think of a first person 3d game map such as Doom but actually modeled on a real-world environment).

Graffiti General used 5,200 photos of the building to create a 3d map of the building with WebGL and ThreeJS. The result is truly impressive. Use your arrow keys and mouse to seamlessly navigate around the building. Columns and walls have collision detection - so you need to navigate around them.

Make sure to look out for the information points which you can click on to learn about some of the graffiti artists whose works adorn the walls of the building.
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